To be or not to be makes all the difference. Choose to be an activist, advocate, ally from now on.
As leaders, employees, friends, family members, and individuals we can all consistently be more pro-active. Every day weave active anti racism learning into daily touch points through advocacy and ally-ship for the rest of time. It’s imperative. It’s more than retweeting and sharing. By choosing to do this the collective voices will become stronger, inequities will continue in silence. Be a voice and be the change! Social enterprise companies focus on values and impacts and have long woven purpose and profit, there is opportunity to do more. All companies from large corporations to solo workers from home offices can be an active part of anti-racism and anti inequity. It’s not an option, it’s a necessity for humanity. The B Corp, Benefit Corporations for Good and all businesses can and should add a focus on challenging racism and reversing inequality to their values and actions. This can happen with focus on some of the UN SDGs (Sustainable Development Goals), or other ways. Don’t rest on laurels, do the good works AND always from now on have a focus on doing good for black and other marginalized communities. We must act and speak against the fundamental injustice, inequity, and violence that disproportionately affect People of Color.
How? Pick at least 5 actions for the long haul.
- Listen and learn. Actively seek writings and voices to follow. Knowing history of decades of lack of wealth and opportunity creates empathy.
- Join a group that is focused on raising marginalized communities
- Volunteer your time
- Donate to organizations that support the undeserved
- Hire for diversity
- Partner with diverse vendors and suppliers
- Contract with diverse workers for home and office
- Shop locally at minority owned businesses
- Follow black leaders in your community and beyond
- Take risks with your time and your comfort, even your job
- Do something uncomfortable, step out and ask how people feel, ask their story. Listen and ask what they need.
- Vote with your wallet and company money for banks and shops to support (does a bank lend to minority entrepreneurs and home buyers? If not, challenge them, ask why not, ask for change or change banks)
- Write to leaders of government, companies, organizations
- Attend peaceful rallies and protests
- Actively support black lives by donating, purchasing, listening consistently
- Know why things are the way they are, each week read some history
- VOTE, VOTE, VOTE (once)
- Actively become an ally in action, an advocate in action without giving yourself kudos
- Talk with your family, friends, colleagues about how what to do and how to make things better, have book clubs and book sharing, volunteer together. Topic discussion nights can be enlightening
- Teach children well about realities of inequities and how to be empathetic and actively outspoken on behalf of others
- Encourage black history teaching early on (and Native American, Immigrants). Write, call, ask for this.
- Practice and anticipate what to do if encountering an injustice in front of you (such as Amy Cooper, the infamous BBQ scene, or police brutality). How to make it stop is to consistently point it out, question and challenge the behavior.
- Attend Black organized events and listen.
- Put Black and other minority people on your advisory boards, corporate boards, non-profit boards and listen.
- Wear a mask and stay distant – because masks protect others, Black Americans are dying of Covid-19 at three times the rate of white people
- Silver lining to Covid-19 is the earth got a break, air is cleaner, let’s try to keep it that way as pollution impacts all communities and is worse in marginalized communities world wide. Be vigilant in this regard as well
Definition of allyship
al·ly·ship | \ ˈa-ˌlī-ˌship , ə-ˈlī- \: the state or condition of being an ally: supportive association with another person specifically : such association with the members of a marginalized or mistreated group to which one does not belong
Della Rae of Oregon Women’s Health Network gave me and Erin Donley, Author of Don’t Tell Me to Calm Down (both of us white) to share stories of white privilege, allyship and realizations. I recalled the story of years ago being with two black male colleagues, good friends after a jazz concert in Pasadena. I was in the passenger seat when we were pulled over. The officer immediately asked me “Miss, are you ok?” I said I couldn’t have been better or safer. I was in my 20s, my first experience with “Black while driving…” Naively, I thought maybe I made a positive impression on that officer….years later my friends are still “Black while driving…” and I have never, ever been pulled over and had an officer ask my passengers if they are ok. I have never been pulled over with fear of being shot. Years later, there has been no improvement, it seems to be worse. Malcomb Gladwell in Talking with Strangers has a section on policing discussing the changes that have to be made. We can act by demanding change by writing, voting for legislation, advocating publicly.
Definition of advocate
ad·vo·cate | \ ˈad-və-kət , -ˌkāt \ 1: one who pleads the cause of another specifically: one who pleads the cause of another before a tribunal or judicial court2: one who defends or maintains a cause or proposes ie: advocate of black history education 3: one who supports or promotes the interests of a cause or group (such as reversing inequity and injustice from here onward).
Voices, listen: “My Humanity is My Brand” Bertony Faustin, Abbey Creek Vineyard
Message from Bertony Faustin/Founder of Abbey Creek Winery: “June 1st marks the end of Haitian heritage month but, for a countless number of others, we are black and Haitian everyday. Though I’m often judged by the perception of my heritage,
I’m not bothered that the first thing some may see is the color of my skin. What bothers me is how that observation makes they feel. Just last week a white gentleman commented “They must call you tiny”; to me, it didn’t matter what his intent was being serious or a joke. It was a version of the same old “big black man”. It’s these conditioned behaviors of fear that make a person clutch their purse as you pass, or call 911 while you bird watch, or worse, use lethal force because of a perception of fear or “non-compliance”.
It brings me to tears when I have to constantly remind my 13 year old son that he’s out of the being cute phase and just black enough to be feared. Tears and heartbreak when I have to tell my 11 year old daughter to embrace her beautiful brown skin and curly hair daily.
I’m sad, tired, and ENRAGED that we STILL have to deal with racism on any level in this world today. One of the images I’ve shared, Le Nègre Marron Inconnu / The unknown slave was a commemoration of the abolishment of slavery and a wish for true freedom for ALL black people. This is the sentiment that gave my immigrant parents the courage to create a better life for themselves and their children in a place that still doesn’t see them as equal. This is the same courage I draw upon when I’m sad, tired, and enraged but I still need to be seen as an example to my kids. It’s not their fault that this is the world we live in.
I know some will judge the fact that I’ve chosen to post this as on both my personal and business page but in a world were commerce and $$$ give platform and power, I choose to lead with both as one.
I recently saw a message stating “your humanity should be more important than your brand” … My humanity IS my brand therefore I never have to choose with which foot I take my leap.” Bertony Faustin June 1, 2020
Why Support Local Black Owned Businesses?
The community support that businesses provide is important and on a human level, incalculable. A great example: Cole and Dayne Reed of openHAUS co-working and greenHAUS Gallery and Boutique of Dream Street in the Soul District. The co-working space consistently held (until corona lockdown) Black Fridays for Black Entrepreneurs to work and commune for free on Fridays. They hold community meetings and Activiting Against Racism bookclub. Cole is an artist who has created 2 shows at the Newmark Theater, most recently AmeriKKKan Story featuring her art and that of young Hobb Waters, the 14 year old talent she mentors. Cole has been through a lot as a black woman, has been called names and not recognized as the founder and owner of 2 thriving businesses, art mentoring and creator of non-profit Exit the Maze. Support them by donating, shopping, listening and an entire community is helped even further. They work hard, we can help them and others doing great works. “I want to see them thrive!” Stephen Green. We can all help.
Voices, Listen : “…inspire yourself and others, do something consistently with your values, your companies values, community values…”
Dr. Carol Parker Walsh
Where: Organizations to support
- Exit the Maze – Changing Perspectives on Racism 501c3 – Cole Reed
- Black Resilience Fund – #wedoheal 501c3 – Cameron Whitten
- Race Talks Portland
- Push Black – app and site for black voices, criminal justice reform, voting campaigns (national)
- Pitch Black
- Black and Brown Founders
- Business for a Better Portland
- Oregon Women’s Health Network – Della Rae
- Urban League of Portland
- Portland NAACP
- Portland African American Leadership Forum
- Coalition of Communities of Color
- Albina Vision
- and more, please add
Where: Spend your Money
- Directory of Black-Owned Businesses in Portland area
- Directory of Black-Owned Eateries
- Abbey Creek Winery: DELIVERS!
- Deadstock Coffee (with pastries from Arrow Coffeehouse)
- Arts organizations that support minority artists consistently: such as White Bird, Portland Playhouse, greenHAUS gallery and boutique
Who: Leaders to Follow
- LinkedIn Local PDX presenters – consistently presentations by leaders of local communities of diversity
- Cameron Whitten
- JoAnne Hardesty – Portland City Council
- Stephen Green and his TED Talk Cheat More
- Pitch Black
- Mara Zapeda – outstanding list in her twitter feed
- Built Oregon
- Ciara Pressler
- Dr. Carol Parker Walsh – https://www.carolparkerwalsh.com/
- Ijeoma Oluo (@IjeomaOluo)
- Kimberly Bryant (@6gems)
- Andre Henry (@andrehenry)
- Derecka Purnell (@dereckapurnell)
- Ava DuVernay (@ava
- and many more. Please add in comments or on twitter or facebook
What and How: Resources & References – Learn!
- 75 Things White People Can Do For Racial Justice – Corinne Shutack
- Dumb Sh*t White People Say – Louis Wood PhD
- Red, White & Black Documentary by Bertony Faustin Abbey Creek Vineyard
- The Weaponization of White Womanhood – Jesse Daniels (On the Media May 29, 2020 and Book)
- Just Mercy – Warner Bros. making free for streaming. Book available too
- The System was Built to Break Black People – Rodney Foxworth, June 2, 2020
- The World Demands a New Business Model – Mary Anne Harmer – May 2020 – a focus on leadership
- That’s Not How That Works podcasts on white privilege and space for white people to learn
- Cheat More – TEDx PDX where to spend your money and why – Stephen Green
- The Other Epidemic We Must Suppress – White Supremacy Jodeen Olguín-Tayler, Head of Partnerships and Strategic Growth, B Lab Global. June 2020
- and more, please add on twitter of facebook
Kim at Mighty Epiphyte helps company leaders and supporters measure and improve impacts, connect to stakeholders, vendors, communities, and clients through raising value systems and doing well while doing good. Well versed in Benefit Corporations for good and B Lab version 6 for B Corp, wealso nurture companies through certification processes while building custom templates and doing the heavy lifting! @mightyepiphyte – email@example.com Help your customers find you through the good you do in the world!